Friends of 
Mason Neck State Park
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Current Board of Directors


of the Friends of Mason Neck State Park



Tom Blackburn has been a member of the Board for more than 7 years.  He writes our monthly newsletter and keeps the website up to date.  Tom also leads kayak trips and shoreline cleanups at the park, as well as recruiting volunteers for our annual Eagle Festival.  Tom is a Fairfax Master Naturalist and President of the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia. He also volunteers frequently at local county parks. Tom has retired from a long career as an energy lawyer. 

  

Bets Byrne has been a member of the board for over two years. She volunteers for many of the activities at the the park sponsored by the board and/or the park. She volunteered at the visitor center until it was closed due to Covid. She also monitors bluebirds at the park through the Virginia Bluebird Association. Bets has lived on Mason Neck since 1976 and values the park and all the nature preserves in the area. She has volunteered for her community association over the years and is currently on the GMPOA board and heads several committees. She retired in 2017 after working as a psychotherapist for 34 years.  She appreciates being able to help people of all ages learn about nature and how to conserve it as well as enjoy the many amenities of  Mason Neck State Park.


Hillary Clawson is a founding member of the Friends of Mason Neck State Park and is serving her fourth year as President of the organization.  She has lived on Mason Neck for 15 years and has worked to preserve its unique environment and resources. She served as president of the Mason Neck Citizens Association for 6 years and continues to serve as a board member. Hillary is also a member of the Environmental Advisory Committee for the Fairfax County Mount Vernon District. As president of the Friends, Hillary has worked with the Board to:

  • Build a strong partnership with Park Management;
  • Make the State Legislature aware of the value of the Park to our visitors resulting in funding for additional staff positions and bringing in the public water supply; 
  • Increase the number and scope of Friends’ educational programs and events; and
  • Provide greater support to Park-sponsored programs and events including those that reach the underserved in our community.

    Pam Cressey is an archaeologist and has been a member of the Gunston Manor community on Mason Neck for more than 20 years. Retired after 35 years as Alexandria's City Archaeologist and 40 years as adjunct professor at The George Washington University, she now volunteers for the Lorton Community Action Center food pantry and as a tutor for two nonprofit organizations . Her interests include wildlife conservation, historical preservation, literacy, gardening, and kayaking.


    Dick Kennedy is a founding member of the Friends of Mason Neck State Park.  He moved to Mason Neck in 1978 with his wife, Sallie, and their two daughters grew up here. Dick is a PhD economist who has been getting more involved with local affairs since retiring in 2003, after 31 years as a CIA analyst. He is also Secretary of the Mason Neck Citizens Association and the Mason Neck Lions Club and is a member of the Sierra Club and several other environmental groups.


    Richard Harless recently was an Adjunct Professor at several campuses of Northern Virginia Community College. He also has taught at Saint Mary’s Honors College of Maryland. He received his bachelor’s degree at Vanderbilt University and holds master’s degrees from George Washington University, Virginia Tech, and George Mason University. He received a Ph.D. in American History from George Mason University in 2012. He served three years in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Viet Nam War era and attained the rank of captain. Recently he was a recipient of the James C. Rees Entrepreneurship Fellowship at Mount Vernon. His book is entitled “Learn Our Art and Ways of Life: George Washington and Native Americans.” He currently is president of the Hallowing Point HOA and volunteers at Dulles International Airport. 


    Steve Levenson He is an active boater on the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers.  He admires the amazing history and diversity of the wildlife of these waters. He’s been on several boards and hopes to contribute to this board to help guide greater public awareness, appreciation and responsible use of one of the natural jewels of the Potomac River.  Professionally, Steve has been a technologist in a legal environment. His career spanned 45 years in municipal, state and federal courts. Steve retired from the Administrative Office of the US Courts about two and a half years ago after 34 years of service.  He currently heads a committee for the International Standards Organization for an archive version of PDF and participates in other world standards as well as being the chair of the Standards Advisory Board.


    Gail Mlinarchik has been on the Board for 3 years. She is currently serving as Secretary.  Gail has been living in the Northern Virginia area since 1977 and all three of her children were raised and educated here. She is a graduate of Monmouth University and received her master's from George Mason University.  Gail retired from teaching in Fairfax County Schools in 2011. She enjoys nature, being outdoors and traveling around the world to learn about other places and cultures. She believes our state parks are a treasure we need to maintain and share with as many people as possible. 


    John Rand lives in Mason Neck and has practiced law in Northern Virginia for 35 years.  He loves to hike and bike in Mason Neck State Park, and he joined the Board in June 2021 with the hope of enhancing what he believes is one of the best and most underappreciated parks in Fairfax County.


    John Romano has been a member of the Friends for 3 years.  He retired in January 2019 from work as an independent lobbyist/consultant representing American Indian tribes; tribal colleges; and regional food banks. John has an extensive background in in non-profit, state agency, congressional staff, federal agency and private advocacy settings -- in planning, financing, developing and providing legislative support for affordable housing, safe and clean water infrastructure and community-based health and education facilities for rural areas, including several American Indian communities. He has done volunteer work for the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) and enjoys traveling and gardening.  


    Randy Streufert is a founding member of the Friends of Mason Neck State Park and is currently serving as Treasurer.  He is a nature photographer, long-time member of Cranford United Methodist Church in Lorton, and volunteers with the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Potomac River Refuge complex.  He joined the Friends Board in 2012 after retiring from the federal government with 40 years of service.  He been photographing the wildlife on Mason Neck since 1979 when he and his wife moved there.  His photographs have appeared on the cover of Virginia Wildlife magazine, and was the grand prize winner in the 2019 National Wildlife Federation Gardening for Wildlife photography contest.  Several of his photographs are on display at the park’s visitor center.





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